It will be a new test for Darren Dods in his third year as manager of Brechin City. A step up to the Championship will test the resolve of all at Glebe Park. Here is my take on how things are shaping up, ahead of the big kick off on Saturday.
City have lost experience through the release of Darren McCormack and Dougie Hill, as well as Alan Trouten leaving the Angus club. Dods has brought in some reasonable replacements, with the experienced Sean Crighton joining from Livingston while Ryan McGeever brings a youthfulness to the defence. A solid League One player who impressed last season will give him the chance, alongside many of his new team-mates to step up and shin in the division above.
The versatility of Euan Spark provides further options in the full-back and central defence areas while Kalvin Orsi and Isaac Layne have also joined to give the attack reinforcements.
Looking at the squad overall, the defence and midfield look well stocked and I think they are ready for the new season kicking off, with plenty options. Graeme Smith is an experienced goalkeeper but assuming he can’t play, there are two very untested keepers at this level and that may prove trouble further down the lune. If budget dictates, it may be ideal to send Patrick O’Neill out on loan with a more equipped goalkeeper for the Championship providing cover and competition.
The main area needing surgery right now, in my opinion, is the attacking threats which Brechin will rely on for goals this season. The experienced Andy Jackson and Isaac Layne – who impressed on loan at Glebe Park a season or so ago – are a good pairing but there seems to be no natural fallback option for Dods right now. Another couple of strikers would be handy, as well as at least one more winger, with Ally Love and Kalvin Orsi looking to be the only options to provide natural width to the side this term.
In conclusion, I think there is no getting away from the task in hand and Brechin will certainly be fighting relegation, in my opinion. If they can sign a couple of quality players in the final third, then I expect them to give themselves as good a chance as any at keeping themselves up.